Just last week, news emerged of a new Android handset coming from LG called the Ice Cream Smart. However, this new smartphone is a little unconventional - at least when it comes to how smartphones are designed, anyway. Instead of a flat, slab design, it would seem that LG is going retro with a flip phone design for one of its upcoming Android models.
It wouldn’t be the first time this has been done by LG, but it's not very often that this type of design is used. The flip phone design hasn’t exactly taken the market by storm, and it probably never will, because it is kind of a niche design and likely caters to the taste of older smartphone users who prefer having the numeric keyboard like the popular flip phones of yesteryear. I also feel that this type of phone could be considered a decent starter phone for first-time smartphone users, regardless of age. So far the flip phone smartphones haven’t been available outside of select countries.
I would like to see the design become more widely available, though.
Perhaps it’s because I feel that there’s a serious lack of choices when it comes to our smartphone selection. I don’t mean that there aren’t tons to choose from, but when it comes to actual diverse choices between smartphone designs there isn’t much there. You have a lot of slabs and a couple of phones with physical keyboards to choose from. These are all fine and dandy, but knowing that there is something a little more unconventional (or perhaps I should say conventional, considering the design) out there that might work really well for certain users makes me think they could be offered here and still end up being moderately successful.
Maybe the flip model is a little outdated, but in a lot of ways I still find the design somewhat satisfying. There are three things I like about flip phones: they’re comfortable to talk on, they have the ability to be extremely compact, and they’re better for angrily hanging up on people than simply pressing a virtual button on a screen. Have you tried slamming a slab phone down on a table when you’ve just finished an angry phone call? I wouldn’t recommend it. It might not be quite up to par as slamming a rotary phone back down on the receiver, but it’s a decent in-betweener. Not that it happens often or anything.
They also have a familiar layout that’s comfortable to a lot of people, and if you don’t need a smartphone for more than a select few applications the design could be handy.
Of course, certain aspects of a flip smartphone aren’t so appealing. I imagine that the smaller-than-average touchscreen might be a turn-off to many in this industry that is now overrun by phablets a-plenty. Even when catering to older generations of smartphone users, many of them actually prefer the larger screens because it is so much easier to see what you’re doing. I also imagine that the battery life might be a challenge when running on a smartphone OS as oppose to older flip phones which ran on much simpler software.
Every once in a while these types of phones will pop up in the wild, but so far none of them have reached more than a few countries. I really do hope that one day at least one makes it over here, just to give more options. Is it the fanciest phone you could own? No. However, I do think that the design is something that certain people could benefit from, and a little bit of diversity in the mobile market doesn’t sound like a bad idea.